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Mobile commerce: The driving force behind commerce and payments

Smita Nair

Business overview: An investor's essential guide to eBay (Part 5 of 6)

(Continued from Part 4)

Mobile commerce continues to be the bright spot for eBay as both Marketplaces and PayPal achieved record mobile results in 2013, each exceeding $20 billion in mobile volume. Total mobile commerce volume grew 88%, with eBay reaching $22 billion and PayPal hitting $27 billion in 2013. For PayPal, mobile was a key catalyst, with payments volume off eBay growing 128% for the year. Mobile users represented 40% of eBay Inc.’s 36 million new users and accounts in 2013, contributing $35 billion in enabled commerce volume (ECV).

eBay has been increasingly investing in mobile systems over the past couple of years. The company integrated with PayPal’s e-commerce platform Magento. eBay last year introduced a hands-free payment system PayPal Beacon for PayPal users that helps them to make retail in-store payments without using their phone. The device leverages bluetooth low energy (or BLE) technology to communicate with mobile devices without requiring shoppers to open the PayPal app.

The company acquired RedLaser, Milo, Zong, and StackMob among others to increase its presence in the mobile segment. In December, the company completed a $800 million purchase of Braintree, a mobile-payments company to strengthen PayPal’s mobile presence. Braintree processes more than $10 billion in payments annually, including $2 billion from payments made using mobile devices. eBay is facing intense competition in the space from startups such as Square, Dwolla, Clover, and large companies such as MasterCard (MA) with PayPass Wallet Services, Visa (V) with its V.me, Google Inc. (GOOG) with its Google Wallet, and more recently, Apple (AAPL) which has shown interest in handling payments through mobile.

Mobile payments worldwide are expected to climb 44%, to $235 billion this year and will reach $721 billion by 2017, according to estimates by research firm Gartner. eMarketer predicted last year that retail m-commerce sales will reach $41.68 billion in 2013 and by 2017, retail sales made on mobile devices will climb to well over $100 billion.

comScore said in December that visitors to the top three online retail properties—Amazon sites, eBay, and Apple.com sites—spend a majority of the time engaging in purchases via the application as opposed to the mobile web.

Continue to Part 6

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